Study: Microdosing Magic Mushrooms Enhances Creativity, Problem Solving Abilities

Microdosing magic mushrooms induces a state of 'unconstrained thought,' enhancing convergent and divergent thinking.

A depiction of the human brain.
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Microdosing magic mushrooms induces a state of 'unconstrained thought,' enhancing convergent and divergent thinking.

Microdosing psychedelics — such as magic mushrooms, LSD, or peyote — to improve cognition, productivity, and creativity is no longer thought to be a controversial practice in some circles.

As the Independent recently observed, microdosing psychedelics is no longer an underground Silicon Valley tradition — the trend has spread to other workplaces.

Previous research had indicated that there may be some substantiation of widespread anecdotal praise of psychedelic microdosing, but a new study from Leiden University in the Netherlands shows that microdosing magic mushrooms enhances creativity and problem solving abilities as well as convergent and divergent thinking.

Titled “Exploring the effect of microdosing psychedelics on creativity in an open-label natural setting,” published in the Springer-branded journal Psychopharmacology — and authored by Luisa Prochazkova, Dominique P. Lippelt, Lorenza S. Colzato, Martin Kuchar, Zsuzsika Sjoerds, and Bernhard Hommel — the study probes the effects of minute doses of magic mushrooms on cognition.

In an effort to examine the effects of microdosing psilocybin mushrooms, researchers subjected 36 individuals present at a microdosing event organized by the Dutch Psychedelic Society to two separate tests: the Picture Concept Task, used to assess convergent thinking — and the Alternative Uses Task, used to assess divergent thinking.

Study.com defines convergent thinking as “the process of finding a single best solution to a problem that you are trying to solve,” and divergent thinking as “the process of creating many unique solutions in order to solve a problem.”

Each participant consumed an average of 0.37 grams of psilocybin, or “magic,” mushrooms.

In both experiments, study participants performed significantly better after microdosing.

Performance on the Picture Concept Task was significantly higher in the second session, showing an improvement of convergent thinking.

The four measures of the Alternative Uses Task — fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality — showed that study participants performed significantly better in the second session as well, demonstrating an increase in divergent thinking.

microdosing psychedelics study
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Fluid intelligence, however, remained unaffected.

Concluding the study, Prochazkova suggested that microdosing magic mushrooms induces a state of ‘”unconstrained thought,'” enhancing convergent and divergent thinking, but also observed that future research needs to confirm their findings in placebo-controlled settings.

In a press release supplied to ScienceDaily, lead author Luisa Prochazkova said the following.

“Taken together, our results suggest that consuming a microdose of truffles allowed participants to create more out-of-the-box alternative solutions for a problem, thus providing preliminary support for the assumption that microdosing improves divergent thinking. Moreover, we also observed an improvement in convergent thinking, that is, increased performance on a task that requires the convergence on one single correct or best solution.”

Prochazkova hopes that these findings will motivate future studies, noting that — apart from improving cognition — microdosing psychedelics could also help individuals suffering from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or rigid thought patterns.